Ukraine’s EcoAction, aka the Center for Environmental Initiatives, plus got food waste? There’s an app for that. Grocery receipts that help reduce your carbon footprint, and the Clean Water Science Network.
Got Food Waste? There’s An App for That, Grocery Receipts Help Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Clean Water Science Network, Ukraine’s EcoAction
ECOACTION, UKRAINE’S CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
Continuing in our “Standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine” theme this week, we bring you another story honoring Ukraine’s green movement. The Center for Environmental Initiatives, also called Ecoaction, is a woman-founded civil society organization in Ukraine uniting the efforts of experts and activists to protect the environment.
Its mission is to activate the Ukrainian community for environmental protection and influence makers and stakeholders to do the same. Ecoaction works with six international environmental networks and four networks focused on the climate crisis at the national level. A major goal is to help achieve an energy efficient economy and 100% renewables-based energy sector in Ukraine by 2050.
Ecoaction generates documents and reports advocating for energy efficiency, renewable energy, countering climate change, clean air for all and sustainable development of transport and agriculture in Ukraine. Ecoaction tries to reach a larger audience through its podcast called, in English, Down Jackets. Down Jackets is currently seven episodes in, each discussing different aspects of climate change.
Why does Ecoaction matter to us? The Russian invasion of Ukraine adds special emphasis to the climate change work being done in that nation. Here at The Climate Daily, we stand with Ukraine’s citizenry and the good work its climate change warriors and organizations and local communities are doing.
FOOD WASTE? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Ever wonder what happens to the leftover premade-meals in cafes and restaurants? Co-founders of the app Food for All Sabine Valenga, David Rodríguez, and Victor Carreño, former students at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, wondered that in 2016.
Initially, just trying to make ends meet they came up with the idea for an online marketplace where restaurants, at the end of their business day, could sell their leftovers to customers for up to 80% cheaper than their original price.
Then soon after, said co-founder Valenga, they realized “one of the most effective things you can do to reverse climate change is reduce food waste.” Food waste is sent to landfills where it while decomposing, releases the dangerous greenhouse gas–methane-as it breaks down.
Currently the app is partnering with businesses in NYC and Boston, with over 200 locations. The Chicken and Rice Guys, a Boston Food for All restaurant partner, say that since joining the app they’ve kept 40% of food waste out of the dumpster.
So if you’re in NYC or Boston, all you have to do is choose a restaurant or cafe from the list, reserve and pay through the app and then go pick up your meal at the restaurant, usually one hour before closing.
Why does the Food for All app matter to us? Americans, we have a problem! US restaurants generate an estimated 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste each year. So, if this app can help restaurants eliminate food waste and provide folks with affordable and yummy food, it’s a win for everyone.
THE CLEAN WATER SCIENCE NETWORK
Anne Mikelonis is an environmental and water resources engineering, Farith Diaz is a chemical and civil engineering and Lewis Stetson Rowles is a PhD student studying water, three PhD colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin co-founded the Clean Water Science Network in 2016. They did that after identifying a need to support students in Mexico working in water, sanitation or water related fields.
From a conference they attended in Oaxaca, it became very clear that there are plenty of organizations facilitating development projects, but very few also provide educational opportunities focused on the fundamentals of water and sanitation sciences to individuals with limited experience. They are really raising up scientific capacity in communities that most need it. CWSN works in three areas:
- This program is designed to help students to deepen their knowledge on water and different environmental issues, while providing useful information to those interested in pursuing graduate studies in water-related degrees in the US.
- We facilitate and fundraise for education and research programs aimed at bringing students from developing communities to work at at top-tier universities in the US and in their communities.
- CWSN board of directors are actively involved in research projects in low-income communities and are currently focused on developing educational workshops and research studies related to innovative ceramic water filtration.
Why does CWSN matter to us? Since 2017, over 100 students from all over Latin America have participated in CWSNs mentorship program. Last year students from over 27 different institutions across Latin America participated in CWSN’s programs.
THE GROCERY RECEIPT THAT HELPS REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Norwegian online grocer, Oda, wanted to cut its CO2 emissions in half by 2025. First they switched from plastic bags to paper boxes and upgraded to electric vans–but the changes weren’t enough to meet their goal. Oda’s sustainability director Louise Fuchs said, “Our customers told us that they find it close to impossible to know what products are climate-friendly.”
That’s when Oda partnered with Cicero, a Norwegian climate research institute, to develop the climate receipt. It’s a way for the customers to see the carbon footprint of what they buy. The receipts have a rating system listing the products into four different emissions categories: low, medium, high and very high. Emissions are calculated from the day the food is planted or created to the day it is consumed, in other words, its ‘lifecycle perspective’.
The climate receipts proved successful. Red meat orders fell 80% in favor of meat substitute options. Oda’s customer purchases of fruits and vegetables increased by more than 50%. According to The Guardian, meat production is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions. While only 29% comes from the cultivation of plant-based foods.
Why do climate receipts matter to us? Most of us eyeball our receipts in the checkout line anyway, and many of us read the label on our food. The climate receipt is a way to seamlessly integrate new tools to combat climate change into already established behavior.
Oda isn’t the only grocery store using the climate receipt. Only a year into the program other grocers have started using the climate receipts too.